A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED PEWTER AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY MANTEL CLOCK
A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED PEWTER AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY MANTEL CLOCK
A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED PEWTER AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY MANTEL CLOCK
2 More
A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED PEWTER AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY MANTEL CLOCK
5 More
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED PEWTER AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY MANTEL CLOCK

THE CASE ATTRIBUTED TO ANDRE-CHARLES BOULLE, THE MOVEMENT BY ISAAC THURET, CIRCA 1690

Details
A LOUIS XIV ORMOLU-MOUNTED PEWTER AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY MANTEL CLOCK
THE CASE ATTRIBUTED TO ANDRE-CHARLES BOULLE, THE MOVEMENT BY ISAAC THURET, CIRCA 1690
Case: the scrolled baluster case inlaid in pewter with arabesque foliage and strap-work, with foliate angles and pierced cresting surmounted by a winged figure of Father Time holding a shield inscribed 'LATET VLTIMA' (probably added in the early 18th century) supported to the base by four sphinxes on a concave-sided plinth with foliate feet; dial: the engraved dial with later silvered Roman chapter ring; movement: the three-train movement with barrels, seven shaped pillars, quarter striking on two bells, countwheel strike to larger bell and later half dead-beat escapement, the backplate signed 'I.Thuret A Paris'
26 ¼ in. (66.8 cm.) high; 13 in. (33 cm.) wide; 8 ¼ in. (21 cm.) deep
Provenance
Possibly from the collections of François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois (1641-1691), Louis XIV’s Ministre de la Guerre.
Probably Sir Henry Hope Edwardes Bt., Wootton Hall, Derbyshire, (possibly the ‘Bhul’ clock referred to in the bill from Annoot & Gale, London dated June 1860 ‘To repairing, cleaning & polishing a Bhul clock case. cleaning the mounting to do’) and by descent to
Lt. Col. Herbert James Hope-Edwardes, Netley Hall, Shropshire, and by descent to
Lady More (née Hope-Edwardes formerly, Coldwell), Netley Hall, and subsequently Linley Hall, Shropshire, and by descent.
Literature
T. Cox, Inventory of the contents of Netley Hall, Shropshire, 1917, p. 11 (dining room).
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

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Lot Essay

With its audacious mouvementé design, superb quality the marquetry and bold sculptural mounts, this clock was conceived through the collaboration of three of the greatest of Louis XIV’s artists and artisans: André-Charles Boulle, Isaac Thuret and Jean Bérain.

A Clock by André-Charles Boulle

This clock may be part of a small series of clocks that André-Charles Boulle supplied to the marquis de Louvois (d.1691), Louis XIV’s minister of War.
The recorded examples stood on a matching pedestal fitted with a barometer; a further one of which was offered as a prize in a lottery organized by Isaac Thuret which was held in Paris in May 1691. The model was conceived at Boulle’s workshops in the Grandes Galeries in the the Louvre in the late 1680s, which housed a large community of painters, sculptors, and artisans. The three creators of this clock: André-Charles Boulle, Isaac Thuret and Jean Bérain were among those based in the curtilage of that Royal palace and who benefited from the King’s protection. Boulle, the King’s favorite ébéniste, produced the case in oak, meticulously overlaid with marquetry of tortoiseshell, brass, engraved pewter, and finely finished and gilded ormolu mounts. Its decoration followed the designs of the King’s chief designer Jean Bérain (1637-1711), who is probably also responsible for the authorship of the original ormolu mounts, including the flaming urns and the four sphinxes supporting the clock. Thuret, who signed its dial and backplate, was responsible for the clock’s movement.

Interestingly, these three craftsmen were also linked by friendship and blood: Boulle is reputed to have been a relative of Thuret, who was, in turn, Bérain’s son-in-law. It seems natural therefore that three should have collaborated in the creation of the present clock, and various other sumptuous clocks, one of Boulle’s main specialities.

There are various contemporary recordings of this model of sphinx clock with movement by Thuret, such as the example in the collection of the Marquis de Louvois listed above. This is listed in an inventory compiled after Louvois' death, dated 13 August 1691. It is recorded in his bedroom at the hôtel de la surintendance at Versailles as:

'Une pendule sonante faite par Thuret avec sa boeste d'écaille marqueterie et ornements de cuivre doré 200 livre'. This clock and two others by Thuret were later recorded as having been in the possession of his widow, the Marquise de Louvois in 1715:
809. une grande pendule à baromètre sonnante par Thuret dans sa boîte de marqueterie d'écaille et cuivre doré ornée de sphinx et autres ornements de bronze doré d' or moulu dans sa boîte faite par Boulle, 400livres. It is interesting to note that there was also another Boulle clock by Thuret, recorded in the collection of Lieut-Col Herbert J. Hope Edwardes in the an inventory of Netley Hall dated 1917 which remains in the family archive. That clock would almost certainly also have been acquired by Sir Henry Hope Edwards, possibly together with the present clock, however its whereabouts are now unknown and its subsequent sale, is recorded in the same document.

This model was probably still in fashion in the first decades of the 18th Century as shown by an entry in the Acte de délaissement d'André-Charles Boulle (1715): Une pendule semblable à celle de M. de Louvois avec son pied dore et trois autres pendules semblables et d'un même dessin fait quand à la marqueterie et valant 300 livres. (J-P. Samoyault, André-Charles Boulle et sa famille, Geneva, 1979, p. 67).

Isaac II Thuret (1630-1706)

Isaac II Thuret, who was made Horloger Ordinaire du Roi et de l’academie des Sciences before 1672, was the most celebrated French clock-maker of his time, and one of the first to utilize Huygen’s ground-breaking invention of the pendulum clock. He is recorded for the first time in the accounts of the Batiments du Roi in 1669, and in 1679 supplied ‘une horloge a pendule spiralle’ to Louis XIV. His prestigious clients were drawn from the Royal circle and the highest ranks of the nobility, and he often commissioned André-Charles Boulle, to create sumptuous and richly decorated cases. Clocks with finely chased mounts and Boulle marquetry, such as on this example, were undoubtedly the most costly speciality of Thuret’s workshop. Related clocks by Thuret are illustrated in Tardy, La Pendulerie Française, Paris, pp. 84-5, and P. Kjellberg, Encyclopedie de la Pendulerie Francaise, Paris, 1997, p. 38.
His son Jacques III Thuret continued his father’s workshop, being made horloger du Roi following his father’s death and continued to collaborate with Boulle and also Charles Cressent.

Three other contemporary clocks of this model are known to survive: the first is part of the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle (RCIN 30011), with a later movement by the English clock-maker Benjamin Vulliamy. The original movement was by the matre horloger Pierre Gaudron, another eminent Parisian horloger, and was bought in Paris by François Benois, George IV’s confectioner and agent, on 13th May 1820 for 6,500 francs. It was originally delivered to Carlton House before being moved to the State Apartments at Windsor Castle. Another example is now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Arts (Rogers Fund, 58.53a-c), the movement of this example is also by Thuret. A third example, now in a private collection, was sold, Sotheby’s, Monaco, 13 February 1983, lot 436.
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